"The Atholl Palace is one of my favourite places where each year we meet up with good friends and have fun. It's the perfect place to stay in a perfect setting with lovely people looking after us. What more could a person want?"
Sometimes when writing about gardening and country things you just feel there is nothing to inspire you to lift a pen,or these days prod a keyboard. These last few weeks(months) have felt a bit like that with unrelenting dour weather making gardening a little less fun than it should be.
But in recent days three little cameos have caused a flurry of excitement and interest. James,catering manager, found a young tawny owl on the lawn. Much excitement followed as people witnessed this fluffy wee ball and,as ever, some thought it was lost. Well very few young animals or birds are lost. As in this case the young owl had probably exited itís nest in one of the nearby trees because it was time to go. Owls are not always ready to fly when they fledge(or branch as it is called in owl-speak) and the young ones often clamber about on the branches and sometimes fall to the ground. As long as they make it back up into the branches, soonish, they will be fine but as with all young things, there are plenty of opportunists ready to pounce on a young owl. In this case it was helped back up into the branches and we hope,lives on.
Even in dour weather some flowers will find conditions to their liking and this year the orchids are a spectacular show in the grasslands around Pitlochry. Locally the early Purple and the common orchid are most often seen and they are really stunning. Strong,upright flower spikes often in remarkable profusion amongst the grass.Why oh why do the councils cut every verge of grassland in the country. Yes, if the verge is hindering vision but often vast swathes of roadside and bankings are cut several times a year and,to me, itís not only pointless and costly but almost a sort of vandalism, decimating many of our wild flowers and habitats,orchids included.
And the other day I took a rest from gardening and cycled along Loch Tummel......admiring the grassland verges that hadnít been cut which were alive with butterflies and other buzzing insects, but then the countryside is meant to be untidy! Something caught my eye coming down the roadside towards me. It stopped, as I stopped, eyed the open road and on it came....a pine marten. Beautiful dark chocolate coat with an orange bib,large ears and a bushy tail.A cat sized weasel.It stood tall and tried to make out what this strange thing was in front of it......then with one leap into the verge it was gone.Such sights live in oneís memory for ever.
By next month the sun will have returned and gardening things will be there to be written about. The garden is still lush and lovely,despite the lack of sun, and soon the peas will be ready to harvest....now that is fun. Innes
Innes finished in 04:41:34 and came 1987 out of 4117 who completed the race. A fabulous achievement!
Thank You to all sponsors.